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Day in the Life of a CPA: Madeline Kurcz, CPA

May 13, 2024

Assistant Professor of Accounting
Marian University

Photo of Madeline Kurcz, CPA

6:30 A.M.: Snooze my alarm.

6:35 A.M.: Snooze my alarm again. 

6:40 A.M.: Wake up (for real this time) and start getting ready. I typically budget around 45 minutes for the “getting ready” process. I wish I was a morning person, but I am not. I MUST shower in the morning, or I will be a zombie. It also helps my curly hair have a fighting chance at cooperating. I usually pick out my outfit the night before to save myself the brain power. Right now, I teach three days a week and try to dress in business casual attire on those days.

7:35 A.M.: I add hot water and coffee grounds to my French press and let it sit while I take my dog, Harley, on a walk. It is a daily struggle to drag him out of bed. He is never happy about being disturbed (#BulldogProblems). We walk around the block and sometimes cut through my apartment’s welcome center to say “hi” to the concierge. Harley and I have lived at the same apartment complex in downtown Indianapolis for four years, and the people are one of my favorite things about living here.

7:50 A.M.: We return from our walk and both eat breakfast (though mine is far more gourmet—a slice of bread with peanut butter and banana). I put my coffee in a to-go mug and head out the door. During my drive, I typically talk on the phone with my boyfriend, who is currently living in Boston and working as a chemical engineer for a water technology company. We outline our plans for the day: what we are most looking forward to and where we may have a challenge ahead of us.

8:15 A.M.: I arrive at Marian. Once I get to my office, I spend time reviewing the material we will be covering for the day. I re-read material from our textbook and review their homework from the prior evening to be sure the content is fresh on my mind. I have some last-minute printing to do, and I chat with my coworkers while the printer is running.

8:55 A.M.: I head down to the classroom where I will teach BUS 109: Business Plan Competition. This class is a staple of Marian’s experiential learning curriculum. It is designed to provide students with a foundation in accounting, entrepreneurship and economics and is nine credit hours. By the end of the semester, the students will have designed, as a group, an original business plan that they pitch to local businesspeople “shark tank” style. It is loads of fun and often full of freshmen.

9 A.M.: I teach my first section of BUS 109. Today we are continuing our discussion of cost behavior. Last class, students created graphs depicting fixed, mixed and variable costs associated with my personal imaginary business venture, “Maddie’s Mellow Lemonade.” Today they will spend time categorizing their own company’s costs and completing a few more activities using Excel.

Photo of Madeline’s Intermediate Accounting II class Photo of going out to dinner to celebrate her birthday with her boyfriend Zach Photo of Madeline with her English bulldog, Harley
Madeline’s Intermediate Accounting II class Out at dinner to celebrate her
birthday with her boyfriend Zach
Madeline with her English bulldog, Harley

10 A.M.: I teach my second section of BUS 109. Each section of this class is different since each group has a different business idea. This semester, we have teams offering pickleball court and paddle rental services, customized sack lunches for sports team away-games, and storage and junk-haul removal services, just to name a few.

11 A.M.: I teach ACC 321: Intermediate Financial Accounting II. This is an OG accounting class that covers the nitty-gritty of financial accounting and reporting, and students complete two semesters of it. I have been working to make this class more student-centered with an emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving, aligning with skills necessary to pass the new CPA Exam. Students come to class having watched an assigned CPA Exam video I selected from their textbook resources. In class, I typically lecture for about a quarter of the class period and the rest is filled with interactive activities and practice problems. We often use annual reports from well-known companies or PowerBI dashboards as a basis for discussion and apply content through Excel-based problem sets.

"It is the most rewarding feeling to see my students find joy in what they are learning and feel proud when they master a challenging topic."

Noon: I eat lunch in my office. I am lucky I have a nice window that gets beautiful afternoon sun, so I usually sit in the sun and try to avoid looking at screens while I eat. Sometimes I work on homework for my master’s classes, but today I save it for the weekend.

12:30 P.M.: Today there is a career fair in the student center, and the Women in Business (WIB) students are offering free professional headshots. I stop by to check on them and introduce myself to the visiting employers. The WIB board is full of empowered, driven women who are fantastic to work with and truly embody the term “Girl Boss.”

1:30 P.M.: I have a meeting with one of my advisees to set up his schedule for next semester and talk about career aspirations. I have just over 20 advisees and meet with each for 30 minutes once a semester and intermittently, as needed. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job!

2 P.M.: I teach ACC 455: Cases in Accounting and Finance. The students have been analyzing the Silicon Valley Bank Failure with an emphasis on the ethical accounting and reporting for available-for-sale and held-to-maturity debt investment securities. This is the accounting capstone course, and today we will spend the whole class period discussing their findings.

3:15 P.M.: I meet with the fellow instructors for BUS 380: Contemporary European Business Issues, a study abroad course we’re offering in the spring in the United Kingdom. I am responsible for marketing and recruitment and will be one of the faculty members traveling across the pond with the students.

4:30 P.M.: I head home, catch up with my boyfriend, feed and walk my dog, eat a snack, and head to the climbing gym.

 Photo of Climbing Castleton Tower in Moab, Utah
Climbing Castleton Tower in Moab, Utah 

5:30 P.M.: I meet up with friends a few times a week for a full evening of climbing. I love the sport because it’s very social (people don’t typically wear headphones), it’s full of supportive people (everyone cheers each other on), and there’s a community of people with a similar sense of adventure (it’s never hard to find someone who is willing to get out of town and spend a weekend in nature). I am by no means professional, but it is also a place where I can set physical goals for myself and work toward achieving them, so it is very rewarding. Last year, my boyfriend Zach and I achieved a big goal of ours—climbing Petit Grepon in Rocky Mountain National Park together.

9 P.M.: I get home from the gym and take my dog on another walk. We usually fit a one to
two mile walk in each day, either before the gym or after.

9:30 P.M.: I cook dinner. I am a firm believer that food is fuel, and I want to be sure I have the energy to take me through the next day. Today I am making tahini chicken thighs with rice and broccoli—one of my favorites! Zach and I usually cook and eat together when we are in the same place, but for now, we cook and eat together via FaceTime. There is, inevitably, a slice of doom-scrolling for dessert.

10:45 P.M.: Time for bed! Harley and I snuggle up and race to see who can start snoring first. Harley wins every time.

About Me

NAME: Madeline Kurcz, CPA

JOB TITLE: Assistant Professor of Accounting

Marian University

~1,000 employees

Helping students jump-start a career in accounting and celebrating their successes along the way. It is the most rewarding feeling to see my students find joy in what they are learning and feel proud when they master a challenging topic. I love that I can offer a creative approach to how accounting topics are taught to help students become more well-rounded problem-solvers, which is important as skills the profession demands evolve.

PREVIOUS POSITIONS: Audit and Assurance – KPMG; Audit and Assurance – The Watermark Group

ALMA MATER: I received undergraduate degrees in both accounting and finance from Marian University. I am currently working toward a master’s in accounting and data analytics (MSADA) from Michigan State University and will be graduating in August!

When I'm Not at Work

FAMILY: I am the third of four children. We were all born within five years, so we are very close. My most cherished times are spent with my siblings and their partners, my parents, and my boyfriend, Zach.

PETS:  I have one child—err, I mean dog—who is the center of attention. He is a 6-year-old English bulldog named Harley.

HOBBIES: Much of my free time is spent socializing and climbing with my buddies at the rock-climbing gym, as well as traveling to different places to climb with my boyfriend, who is an avid climber. I also enjoy cooking, making art, rollerblading and taking my dog on walks down Mass Ave in downtown Indy.

INCPAS INVOLVEMENT: I will soon graduate from the INCPAS Young Pros Leadership Academy (YPLA), a two-year program. I was also a finalist for the INCPAS Emerging Leaders Award last fall.

OTHER MEMBERSHIPS/COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I am the faculty advisor for the Women in Business student organization at Marian which supports women in their professional pursuits. I also serve as the business school representative on the faculty senate. Plus, I am a member of the AICPA. In the past, I have volunteered at the non-profit Art with a Heart, and this community involvement is what I look forward to returning to when I finish up my masters.

Advice for Students Considering the Profession

Be curious. There is a whole network of individuals who would jump at the opportunity to share their love of accounting with you. INCPAS is a great place to start.

Best Advice You've Ever Received

Be yourself. When I first came into my role, I was afraid of how I would be perceived, and it felt very vulnerable to put myself out there. By being my most authentic self, I was able to share my God-given gifts and find creative solutions to fill in gaps—namely, building and relying on my network. In doing so, I have developed deep, meaningful relationships with colleagues, students and professionals in the field.

Do you think a day in your life would make a good addition to our series? Contact Katie Kirkton at to find out how you can share your story.

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